For it is this contest that helps us remember and honour Chloe Byron and all those Bali victims who needlessly perished those nine years ago.
Ladies and gentlemen I bring you the 9th Chloe Byron Memorial Contest.
Whilst at the end of the day we can only have one winner of the contest, each one of you (remembering and celebrating the life of Chloe Byron) will take home in your hearts your own special victory, as it is upon your shoulders the spirits of the entire Byron family have been lifted by your simple acts of caring, and supporting them.
For this endeavour, on behalf of the Byron family I thank you all.
And so to the contest.
The usual scramble for registrations, problems with the sound system and all manner of unforseen stuffups meant an 8.20 start rather than an 8am planned one. Still, not bad for a contest of this magnitude and diversity.
The dancers jived, the cooks sizzled and Dave the DJ spun a tune or two as the contest was soon in full swing. The early favourites easily made it through to the next round whilst a few unknown quantities went along quietly to stake a claim in the semis.
The girls waited patiently to kick off a couple of hours later and didn’t disappoint in the dancing or surfing department. How come women look so much better dancing in a wetsuit than men do? Oh well, Viva La Difference!
One of the most awe inspiring highlights of the day was an impromptu visit from a large whale about 300metres past the breakers. With a few spectacular breaches and splashdowns, it had the crowd oohing and cheering like delirious school kids. The spirit of Chloe was truly with us this fine day.
The day progressed like clockwork thanks to the head judge John Dicks ably assisted by his sidekicks Foghorn and Chapelle. Whilst Jo tallied and the Prez spruiked, the silent auction, raffles and various competitions were going off the richter scale.
There are too many names to mention here but thank you to all.
The Mayor made an appearance and Andrew Gee was spotted mixing with the crowd along with many local identities and scallywags.
Ahhhhh Bondi….where on earth would you rather be?
Dave and his bitches delighted our palates as hungry onlookers drooled for another sampling of jambalaya. The lolly jar was keenly fought over and became a popular item when finally guessed correctly. Lizard kept the numbers up in the silent auction and the “sposors” surfboard became a great talking point as everyone played spot the error.
Everyone was so enthralled with the day we hardly remembered there was a contest on this day.
Lunch time saw a change from the customary paddle out to a simple semi circle of love on the golden sands of Bondi. The air was charged with emotion, sadness and a bond of community spirit that was as strong as any steel cable. As Dave, Tia and Jarrod entered the water a hush fell on the crowd that simply signified respect and understanding for the pain that had to be endured each time this year.
The rest of the day was a blur as semis and finals were keenly contested with the inclusion of a SUP section. Specialist judge Big Kahuna Dave was responsible for making sense of this new competition and he revelled in the task.
The major results of the day were courageously contested but in the end Claire Norman was outclassed by Jessi Miley-Dyer with Harries turning the tables on Kevin Holt from 2010.
Other great results were George Haskas taking home a new McTavish Fireball in the raffle, the Rock Troll scoring a new board from his main tormentor Dave and the magic figure of $7000 being raised for the Homicide Victims Support Group.
Finally, most people teared up a little as Anthony “Harries” Carroll made his acceptance speech, but I think the sentiments he expressed were felt by every person lucky enough to be associated with this inspiring event.
May peace and happiness find you all
Branson, The Prez, Henry Brycki………
Full results from the day are as follows: